|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
** U.S. press reports on the Pentagon's "Nuclear Posture Review" have provoked widespread concern and a good deal of confusion in foreign media outlets.
** USG claims notwithstanding, nearly all editorialists contend the report signals a marked shift in nuclear weapons doctrine from deterrence to "pre-emption" and even battlefield use.
** Only a couple of European editorials concur with the administration's position that "nothing in the document" indicates an about-face in nuclear strategy.
** Critics warned that the NPR "lowers the nuclear threshold" by setting out new contingencies for weapons use, expanding the list of targeted countries, and proposing new tactical nukes.
** Analysts in Europe and China called on the U.S. to "clarify" its thinking and provide "an official and more clear-cut explanation" of its nuclear policy.
NPR a corollary to 'axis of evil' speech. Many writers judged the "shift" in nuclear policy to be part and parcel of "America's new military assertiveness." Bolstered by the "rout" in Afghanistan and possessed of a post-9/11 "self-righteous" zeal, the U.S., they asserted, was prepared to use its military might--including its nuclear arsenal--to "underpin world order." By linking WMD to terrorism, Bush's "axis of evil" speech was seen as providing ballast for the Pentagon's conclusions, particularly on "pre-emptively" striking chem/bio weapons stashes.
'Madness' or 'perfect sense.' The notion that the NPR evinces "irresponsible" and "crazy" thinking extended beyond predictable philippics from Greek, Pakistani and DPRK outlets to mainstream media elsewhere. The vast majority of writers insisted that the report threatens to turn the nuclear nonproliferation regime on its head, "breaking the taboo" against weapons use and triggering an arms race. This sentiment was strongest in centrist/left-leaning European, Australian and Canadian dailies, and in the S. Korean and Chinese/Hong Kong press. Russian papers, while displeased, were relatively subdued. A small minority, mostly conservative European, Canadian and Australian papers, dismissed the "overblown" rhetoric as alarmist and held that the U.S.' "retooling" its posture makes "perfect sense" in the "post-9/11 environment."
-- Paris's left-of-center Le Monde: "The Pentagon's study suggests a total change in America's nuclear doctrine.... It normalizes the idea of using a weapon initially intended as a deterrent...erasing the boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons."
-- The liberal Sydney Morning Herald: "The report...reverses decades of American military thinking.... It also indicated just how far the Bush administration is prepared to go to entrench America's role as the self-appointed global policeman that its military power affords."
-- Seoul's conservative Chosun Ilbo and Segye Ilbo: "The NPR represents a considerable departure from the U.S. policy of 'negative security assurances'" and "a clear breach" of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments.
EDITOR: Katherine L. Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 63 reports from 31 countries, March 10-15. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "President Bush And The Bomb"
An editorial in the independent Financial Times stated (3/11): "The U.S. administration is determined to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.... That is both necessary and understandable. Such weapons, in the hands of rogue states such as Iraq or North Korea, would pose an unacceptable threat not only to America, but even more immediately to neighbouring states and other U.S. allies. But Washington must ensure that its own policies do not encourage rather that discourage such proliferation. Such a concern is the main worry aroused by the latest [NPR].... The implication is that the U.S. may be and should be prepared to use nuclear weapons in a first strike against a country that does not itself necessarily possess them. Such a redefinition of U.S. policy would amount to a disturbing departure from the longstanding U.S. position: that it would not use a nuclear device against a non-nuclear state that has signed the [NPT]. The reassurance was given precisely in order to persuade the maximum number of countries to sign the treaty. By suggesting that they could still face nuclear attack, even if they have no nuclear weapons, the Pentagon could merely be giving them an incentive to develop their own dreadful weapons to retaliate. Clarification of U.S. thinking is needed, not least to reconcile the often dissonant views from the Pentagon and the State Department.... The prospect of several Middle Eastern countries being nuclear targets is likely to cause grave concern, even to America's closest allies.... Possessing awesome power brings with it an awesome responsibility to exercise restraint. That is the message Bush needs to preach just now"
"America’s New Posture"
The independent Economist had this piece on its online Global Agenda (3/11): "'Let’s Nuke ’Em All': The front-page headline, over a 'report' of the Pentagon’s [NPR] by the Mirror, a mass-circulation British newspaper, makes up in shock value what it lacks in accuracy. But it does encapsulate a sense of unease felt even among some of America’s staunchest allies about the possible next steps in President George Bush’s 'war against terrorism.'... There are at least three reasons why the [NPR] the Nuclear Posture Review...has caused nail-biting among some of America’s allies (let alone its enemies). First, in listing seven countries against which America might have to use nuclear weapons, it includes two--Syria and Libya--that are not known to be pursuing nuclear-weapons programmes, though they are suspected of developing other [WMD]. America, like other nuclear powers, has pledged not to mount a nuclear attack against any country that has no nuclear arms. This has been seen as an important underpinning of the [NPT].... Second, in its description of some specific contingencies, the Review was bound to offend two declared nuclear powers, Russia and China, and to imply America might be more ready to use nuclear weapons than had been thought. As possible sparks for a nuclear war, it listed, for example, an Iraqi attack on its neighbours or on Israel, a North Korean invasion of South Korea, and a confrontation with China over Taiwan. America has never formally followed a 'no-first-use' policy...but in the past, it has relied mainly on its capacity for massive retaliation. The Review gave the impression...that America might in some circumstances contemplate pre-emptive nuclear attacks. Third, the Review envisages the development of new, tactical nuclear weapons with smaller warheads, which might, for example, be used to penetrate fortified underground bunkers. This gives rise to the worry that the distinction between conventional and nuclear warfare would be blurred, leading to a lower threshold for a nuclear attack, and thus to the undermining of the global nonproliferation regime.
"Most of the worries raised overseas by the Review are overblown. It describes, as American spokesmen put it, 'a posture not a policy'--the sort of contingency planning that any armed forces are obliged to conduct.... The main purpose of America’s huge nuclear arsenal remains that of deterrence.... [Bush's speech on 3/11] stressed the growing threat of 'terror armed with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.' Hence America’s determination to prevent terrorists from acting in consort with the governments of 'axis of evil' countries with access to [WMD]. In that context, the leaking of the [NPR] may not be wholly a matter of regret to the Pentagon. The more likely America’s foes think its nuclear weapons are to be used, the greater their power to deter."
FRANCE: "Mr. Bush And The Bomb"
Left-of-center Le Monde's editorial argued (3/13): "To reassure ourselves we will say...that military planners...must imagine the worst and the means to deal with it. We shall also note that America's military institutions have every reason to be traumatized. They were not able to prevent September 11; they were not able to think the 'unthinkable;' they failed in their mission to protect the nation. We also know that the Pentagon's work method is to always revise its plans.... Nevertheless, the information reported by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times on the secret sections of the Pentagon's report is scary.... The Pentagon's study suggests a total change in America's nuclear doctrine.... If it were adopted, it would be 'irresponsible madness,' to quote the New York Times editorial, for several reasons. This doctrine destroys the principle of nonproliferation.... In suggesting the use of nuclear weapons in a first strike, it normalizes the idea of using a weapon intended initially as a deterrent. In so doing, the Pentagon standardizes nuclear weapons...erasing the boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons.... What is being encouraged is nuclear proliferation. The Pentagon's report is worthy of a nation in the grip of panic. It is not worthy of a power conscious of its responsibilities. And this is frightening."
"The New Nuclear Threat"
Jean-Paul Pierot held in communist L'Humanite (3/13): "With (America's) revised nuclear doctrine, a very dangerous step has been made.... In every circumstance, the American administration in general and the Bush administration in particular likes to show that it does not respect the rules and regulations which are applicable to others. But with the announcement that the U.S. is ready to use nuclear weapons, especially against nations that have none, Washington is putting the world in terrible danger.... The very singular lessons which George Bush has drawn from September 11 could lead the world into a new era of war."
"The Pentagon's Latest Strategy"
Dominique Bromberger commented on government-run France Inter radio (3/12): "The standardization of nuclear weapons and their use carry extremely dangerous consequences. It is essential for the U.S. president to quickly shed a light on his real intentions and bring guarantees to the rest of the world."
"Bush's Nuclear Doctrine"
Pierre Rousselin opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/11): "President Bush's post-September 11 doctrine is taking shape and it is upsetting (the world's) geostrategy. The war against terrorism is such a priority that nuclear weapons have been enrolled at the service of America's newest world strategy.... The Bush doctrine...stipulates that any threat, real or probable, must be eliminated. Whether it is al-Qaida fighters...or weapons of mass destruction.... The objective having been defined, the rest is secondary: such as signed international agreements or the position of allies.... The nuclear doctrine, as the ultimate recourse for the nation's security, has been redefined.... The obsession with the 'axis of evil' is back, but this time George Bush is not playing with words. He is ready for just about anything in order to fight those who one day might acquire biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.... We can understand, but we cannot condone. The new U.S. strategy seems to be implying submission from its allies. Without being consulted, how can we accept nuclear weapons becoming battleground weapons?"
GERMANY: "Play With Bombs"
Josef Joffe judged in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (3/14): "The well-meaning interpretation of the publication of the 'Nuclear Posture Review' is that a threat scenario is being built up: 'Look, we are getting serious.' The interpretation that is not so well meaning is: The Pentagon forgets in which world it pursues policies. It has become a routine matter not to consult the Europeans. But if not only 'rogue states' such as Iraq appear on the list but also Russia and China, then we wonder whether the planners in Washington are able to think beyond the walls of the Pentagon.... What of nonproliferation policy if have-nots are threatened with nuclear weapons? The [NPR] has the effect of a sting: [Have-nots] are called upon to get the nuclear bomb to pay back the United States in its own coin. Poor Colin Powell, he must now appease many nations in the world saying that it was only a mind game, no strategy. But those who sow the seeds of horror should not be surprised at the diplomatic damage."
"Good And Bad Weapons"
Washington correspondent Malte Lehming declared in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/12): "The 'Nuclear Posture Review' provides no evidence that U.S. scruples about using nuclear weapons have lessened. That means that suspicions and fears are exaggerated. But the paper confirms two other assumptions. First, the Bush administration differentiates clearly between its own, good and useful arsenals...and the bad and dangerous weapons of countries such as Iraq and North Korea. Second, the United States is deliberately pursuing a policy of intimidation in order to implement its interest on a global scale. Dangerous concepts are part of this strategy. Maybe the U.S. administration was not really annoyed at the fact that the paper was leaked to the press right now. At the six-month memorial service of September 11...intimidation is not bad."
Washington correspondent Wolfgang Koydl wrote on the front page of center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/11): "Mini-nuclear weapons exist thus far only on Pentagon drawing boards. Not only are these weapons new, but so is the policy that is behind it: For America, such nuclear weapons no longer serve solely as a deterrent, but, as a last resort, they are also to be used against enemies. For the first time, the Pentagon mentioned seven states against which U.S. forces would use nuclear weapons.... The principle of 'mutually assured destruction' that prevailed during the times of the superpower confrontation, has now been replaced by the principle of a unilaterally guaranteed destruction. This new policy fits the conviction of the Bush administration that the old arms control mechanisms that were developed during the Cold War, are now obsolete. Another promise obviously no longer fits the political landscape either. And that is the promise that was made by all classical nuclear powers, including the United States, that no state should be attacked with nuclear weapons that does not have nuclear weapons and that has signed the [NPT]. According to the new policy, the United States would no longer show consideration for this principle."
"Ticking Bonzai Bomb"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau had this to say (3/11): "According to the perverse deterrence logic of the Cold War, the use of nuclear weapons was to be prevented by threatening each other with mutual annihilation. But if U.S. military planners now had the say, the obsolete balance of terror is to be replaced by a new doctrine that makes nuclear weapons the tactical toy of generals. The Pentagon is now planning to develop nuclear bonzai bombs that can be precisely guided onto targets, cause less 'collateral damage,' and even destroy bunkers.... With all possible means, the United States is striving for absolute security that does not exist. In the anti-terror fight, nuclear weapons are useless as a deterrent. The hijacked airplanes would have hit the World Trade Center even if Osama bin Laden had to expect nuclear retaliation. So-called 'rogue states' are risking their destruction anyway in view of the conventional superiority of the U.S. military superpower."
ITALY: "Bush's Order To The Pentagon: 'Ready To Use Nuclear Weapons'"
Vittorio Zucconi filed from Washington in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (3/10): "George Bush's new 'nuclear boutique' is opening up, where a tailored nuclear war is possible, authorized and encouraged. The new American doctrine on nuclear war...[does] not contain any political or moral reflections on the possible unilateral use of nuclear weapons by the United States, the end of the Hiroshima taboo or the consequences that that could have. This is not the task of technicians or strategists, but of politicians and diplomats who will now have to explain to the Russian, the Chinese, the Syrian or the Libyan governments what they mean with this new doctrine that includes them among the possible 'plausible targets.'"
"Six Months Of Hopes Without Peace”
Boris Biancheri opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (3/11): “The world, which for a moment seemed to be united, has now split.... What Bush’s three ‘Evil Axis’ countries have in common exactly may be clear to him, but is still unclear to the Europeans. And additional lists, according to which Washington has identified countries of potential nuclear threat, including Russia, but not Pakistan or India--if confirmed, would make Washington's plans even more obscure.”
RUSSIA: "Russia Forgives U.S. Nuclear Threat"
Reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (3/14) front-paged this comment by Boris Volkhonsky: "Admittedly, Moscow wants no row, fearful it may wreck prospects for an important document on arms control. Given the sorry plight of the Russian army, the accord may be an answer to its problems. Nipping it in the bud would be unforgivable."
"Serious Differences Still There"
Yelena Aleksandrova stated in the official parliamentary Parlamentskaya Gazeta (3/14): "Moscow and Washington still have serious differences on the issue of security and stability in the world. The United States hungers for absolute global hegemony. This is apparent also in its approach to the new agreement on arms control the two countries have been working on to prepare for signing during President Bush's visit to Russia next May."
Georgiy Bovt said in the reformist Izvestiya (3/14): "Seeing the expressly restrained reaction of the Russian leadership to certain actions by the Americans--they might have had Moscow fly off the handle in the past--leads one to conclude that both sides are steadfast about wanting the upcoming summit to be a success."
Yuriy Golotyuk said in the reformist Vremya Novostei (3/12): "Sergey Ivanov said yesterday that he was expecting explanations from his U.S. colleague Donald Rumsfeld (on the Pentagon's report). Well, the chief of the Pentagon can just as well baffle his Russian counterpart by asking for his opinion about, say, the level of the combat readiness of Russia's strategic nuclear forces, which our military has since Cold War times been known to gauge by the number of warheads that can reach the United States in the event of an exchange of nuclear strikes.... Russian military officials, speaking privately, are concerned not so much about the contents of the report as the timing of the leak. They believe that 'we are being provoked just as Russia has virtually started reducing its nuclear arsenal unilaterally on a scale that is without precedent.'"
"U.S. Diplomacy Conflicts With Pentagon's Plans"
Reformist business-oriented Kommersant printed this by Anton Chernykh (3/11): "The Pentagon, in a secret report on the United States' new nuclear doctrine, mentions Russia among countries that may be targeted for a nuclear attack. It is not for the first time in Russo-American relations that Washington's diplomatic efforts are at variance with the Pentagon's plans."
AUSTRIA: "Much Ado About Nothing"
Security affairs writer Burkhard Bischof commented in centrist Die Presse (3/13): "Everything the U.S. thinks, plans or does these days, can be used against it. Besides, who cares about the facts, we're talking about America. The point is, though, that the U.S. and some other countries as well have been working on the development of tactical 'mini-nukes' for decades.... Nuclear weapons are mainly designed to serve as a deterrent, a concept that worked very well during the entire Cold War. That's what the [NPR]...is really all about. Russia and China--both on the U.S.' list of possible new targets--know that very well. Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and North Korea are all working on the development of [WMD] of their own, so they're being given a warning of what's in store for them, should they be fooling around with ABC weapons.... As usual: Much ado about nothing. However, if the commotion intimidates those countries who are trying to lay their hands on some of the nastier weapons, at least it's good for something."
DENMARK: "Mistaken U.S. Nuclear Strategy"
Left-wing Information judged (3/12): "U.S. military strategists [who have allegedly advocated the use of nuclear weapons against enemy targets] seem to have a twisted and unrealistic view of the world we are living in. They appear to have wildly exaggerated the threat posed by some states. The risk is that the Pentagon's fears of a catastrophic attack on the U.S. could become a self-fulfilling prophesy unless America shows restraint in its war against terror."
GREECE: "From Hiroshima To The Nuclear Nightmare"
Writing in popular, influential and anti-American Eleftherotypia political editor Nikos Kiaos said (3/14): "In Wild West movies the sheriff was a tool of the society and functioned on a specific mandate, in an organized framework--as organized such a society could be. The contemporary sheriff, however, as expressed by George Bush, not only acts curbing the rudimentary framework of international law, but also imposes his will in the name of his own interests. Starting from undisputed pain, he obscenely exploits world sympathy and support to impose his own law, the law of the powerful. This is arrogance and fascism."
The lead editorial in influential independent Kathimerini stated (3/12): "The Los Angeles Times report that the U.S. is developing new nuclear weapons for possible use in a number of countries caused serious concern in Europe, the Arab states and the rest of the world. Although the end of the Cold War did not bring a more stable world, humanity had hoped that it had at least eliminated the nightmare of a nuclear war.... Such plans, however, mark the dawn of a new era where the possibility of some sort of nuclear warfare is more likely, as it has legitimized [them] for a far lower level of conflict than that of the total war in the days of the U.S.-USSR confrontation."
The lead editorial in top-circulation, influential pro-government Ta Nea said (3/11): "The disclosure that the U.S. is preparing scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons against seven countries confirms that the sole superpower is following an extremely dangerous path in its effort to strike the 'powers of evil.'... Instead of exploiting its political and military hegemony in order to promote peace initiatives and stop bloodshed like the one in the Middle East, the U.S. returns to the logic of a final blow against peoples and countries that it classifies among its enemies. The return of nuclear nightmare displays the inability of the U.S. to convince peoples about the correctness of its views or efficiently manage the power in its hands."
"Tears For Peace"
The lead editorial in popular, influential and anti-American Eleftherotypia claimed (3/11): "President Bush had tears in his eyes during the funeral of two U.S. soldiers who died in Afghanistan. How sincere were these tears at a time when U.S. media disclosed that the U.S. is prepared to use nuclear weapons for a number of occasions? This is a nightmarish plan of sick brains with little interest in the future of the planet.... A nuclear attack will not remain unanswered by countries with nuclear capabilities.... This brings a drastic change in U.S. policy for the use of nuclear weapons; until now it was that nuclear weapons would be used only in case of a nuclear attack or in outstanding cases during a war. Now the U.S. will be able to attack whenever it feels its domination threatened. The only thing they did not foresee is whether there will be a U.S. president left after the attacks to shed tears."
IRELAND: "Reviewing The Nuclear Option"
The leading centrist Irish Times editorialized (3/13): "The Pentagon's [NPR]...makes two major changes to the contingencies in which U.S. nuclear weapons might be used. While previously they would be deployed only against a nuclear armed state or a state in a nuclear alliance, there is now provision to use them against non-nuclear states, even if they have signed the [NPT].... Secondly, the review opens up the question of developing new nuclear weapons for use against deep bunkers in these states. Both would lower the nuclear threshold and blur the categorical distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons that has stabilised international relations by giving potential nuclear states an incentive not to develop them. Taken together, these developments herald a much more uncertain and dangerous world."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Another Disastrous Message From Washington"
Centrist Haagsche Courant commented (3/12): "Since Bush's accession, the Atlantic relationships have changed drastically. Surprising American measures, which convey especially that Washington could care less about the rest of the world in general and about the European allies in particular, follow in close order. To take only the last few weeks: through his support to his antiquated steel industry he has unleashed a trade war with Europe, and there has been serious consideration to develop a strategy of lies for foreign policy in order to deceive friend and foe. Alongside this, there is the continuous threat of bombing Baghdad.... The past weekend a new disastrous message came from Washington. The U.S. will put together a plan for a lighter nuclear armament.... It concerns a new generation of nuclear weapons which are much more precise and will allow fewer civilian casualties. That sounds a bit positive, but it does lower the nuclear threshold and it will no doubt bring about a new arms race."
NORWAY: "The New Old Nuclear Strategy Of The U.S."
In the newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (3/15), Kjell Dragnes commented: "The reassessment... increases the danger for a nuclear war critics say. That is a far too easy a conclusion to draw. The opposite may just as well be the case.... Nothing of the document that has so far become public, gives signs of any about-face in the U.S. nuclear strategy, a strategy that however has gone through several reassessments in the almost 57 years of the existence of the nuclear weapons. Should an about-face be the case, it will be the fact that President Bush is prepared to continue the disarmament.... For nuclear weapons to be credible as a means for deterrence they must also be available for use and there has to be enough of them. What the Pentagon is now doing, is returning to the 'flexible response' strategy from the 60s and 70s.... Nuclear weapons did not prevent terrorists from attacking the U.S. They were never meant to, either. The nuclear weapons have a different role to play. They are to discourage countries and regimes. Also Saddam Hussein."
ROMANIA: "A New Role For Nuclear Weapons"
Business-oriented Ziarul Financiar editorialized (3/12): "The Bush administration aims not only at developing new types of nuclear weapons, but also at expanding the list of situations in which nuclear weapons could be used. The Bush administration seems to have found a new role for nuclear weapons, which will be used against any country in the 'evil axis,' or countries which cause trouble."
SLOVENIA: "Wisdom And Foolishness"
Boris Jausovec opined in left-of-center independent Vecer (3/12): "In the six months after black Tuesday, the Bush Administration has done so many foolish things, drawn so many simplified conclusions, and made so many overhasty statements that an increasing number of people and countries have begun to speculate that the United States itself--with its exaggerated war against terrorism--may have become the major threat to world security.... Powell...tried to calm things down...by calling the secret plan about seven countries [as possible targets for nuclear weapons] 'just wise military planning.' Thank you for such wisdom, which verges on madness. Disarmament experts are of the opinion that nuclear plans of this kind may destabilize the world."
SPAIN: "Exaggerated Nuclear Response"
Conservative ABC opined (3/10): "If it keeps its unilateral fervor, the superpower will find it difficult to maintain the international support for the just anti-terrorist cause. The distrust toward everything that is not American, along with some signs of a certain arrogance, in addition to the condescension it sometimes inflicts on the EU, are opening a breach in its solid alliance with Europe and heightening suspension in the rest of the world. The nuclear warning is one more sign of the U.S.' regressive foreign policy and its mistaken zeal for keeping to in itself."
TURKEY: "Have The Americans Gone Crazy?"
Semih Idiz complained in tabloid Star (3/12): "Regardless of one's definition of the feelings of vengeance or justice, no civilized country has the luxury of acting totally irresponsibly or irrationally.... Based on reports in the American press, we realize that certain countries are listed in the category of 'those nuclear weapons might be used against,' and they are China, Russia, N. Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. There are even references to the production of nuclear weapons to be used with 'limited effects' against these countries in the fight against terrorism.... Americans have every right to be furious after 9/11, yet this does not give them the right to do irrational things and turn the whole world into a more dangerous place than it already is now. Today the main goal is not to produce new nuclear weapons, but to ban and eliminate the existing ones completely."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Bush Waves Stick At Hussein"
Roy Eccleston, Washington correspondent for the national conservative Australian observed (3/15): "Bush yesterday warned Iraq and any other nation that developed nuclear, chemical or germ weapons that the U.S. was prepared to use its nuclear arsenal to defend itself and its allies.... Bush's words were more aggressive than those of...Colin Powell or...Donald Rumsfeld, who have both sought to downplay the Nuclear Posture Review."
"U.S. Ready To Apply Lessons Of Cold War"
Foreign editor Greg Sheridan had this op-ed in the national conservative Australian (3/14): "The war on terror has already moved through several decisive stages. In his 'axis of evil' address, Bush redefined the strategic paradigm away from the Cold War doctrine of deterrence to a new doctrine of pre-emption. Deterrence only works against a rational state, not against terrorist groups and suicide bombers. The axis of evil speech, derided by liberal commentators, will emerge as a key-defining document of the new era.... As many commentators noted at the time, Iran, Iraq and North Korea shared in common not so much sponsorship of terrorism as possession or pursuit of [WMD]."
"America's Dangerous Nuclear Game"
Andy Butfoy, lecturer in international relations at Monash University had this op-ed in the liberal Age (3/14): "Reports that Washington has Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and China on a nuclear target list come as no surprise to strategic analysts. United States thinking on nuclear war is being driven by a predictable convergence between old Cold War habits and contemporary concerns over rogue states. Overlaying this is a mix of lingering U.S. triumphalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union, together with the anxiety and self-righteousness that emerged after the terrorist strikes against Washington and New York.... U.S. nuclear planning might be more acceptable if it were paralleled by a more constructive approach to multilateral diplomacy. After all, perhaps it makes sense to have a well-armed superpower prepared to underpin world order. But, given U.S. unilateralism, we now have to ask: Who's world order, and run according to what principles?"
"Bush's Nuclear Escalation"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald editorialized (3/12): "A secret Pentagon report which reveals plans for a 'first-strike' nuclear arsenal reverses decades of American military thinking which effectively defined nuclear warheads as weapons of last resort. It also indicates just how far the Bush administration is prepared to go to entrench America's role as the self-appointed global policeman that its military power affords.... The Bush administration appears indifferent, however, to both international criticism and concerns. Instead, buoyed by its military rout in Afghanistan, Washington seems determined to move further away from multilateralism and 'international citizenship' and to pursue a strategic and diplomatic agenda shaped by self-interest."
CHINA: "The United States: Nuclear Hoodlum"
Ren Minjun and Guo Siren commented in the Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 3/14): "If the nuke report revealed by the U.S media is true, it means that the United States will give up its promises, changing the policy of using nuclear weapons only as the last resort, and lowering its nuclear threshold by using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. This U.S. decision is likely to trigger an even larger-scaled nuclear war."
"State Prompts U.S. To Explain Nuke Report"
Shao Zongwei commented in the official English-language China Daily (3/13): "China is waiting for an official and more clear-cut explanation from the U.S. on the possible use of nuclear weapons against China and six other countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said. Regarding China's stance on anti-terrorism, Sun made it clear that China would like to continue its exchange and cooperation with other countries, including the U.S., in the fight against terrorism."
"U.S. Seeks Absolute Military Superiority"
Official Beijing China Daily commented (3/13): "The [NPR] indicates that U.S. nuclear strategy is oriented towards maintaining absolute military superiority around the world.... The proclaimed transition from a 'threats-based' to a 'capabilities-based' strategy is nothing more than a pretext for further arms buildup.... In essence, the emphasis on the capability to deal with many potential opponents exaggerates the threats the U.S. faces.... The new U.S. strategy is a 'full-spectrum' strategy of military deterrence, oriented at all possible future foes as well as an excuse for the establishment of all-round military superiority."
"FM: China Poses No Threat To World Peace"
China Daily news and Xinhua commented in the official English-language China Daily (3/12): "China is 'deeply shocked' at the U.S. Defense Department's report that includes China in a list of seven countries that would be subjected to a U.S. nuclear attack under an emergency, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi. Sun said that China is a peace-loving nation that does not pose a threat to any country. He added that China has all along advocated the comprehensive ban and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapon states should commit themselves to the unconditional no-first-use of nuclear weapons, and promise not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons on nuclear weapon-free countries and regions, said Sun."
HONG KONG & MACAU SARS: "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Strategy And Taiwan Strait"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal wrote in an editorial (3/14): "The U.S. 'Nuclear Posture Review' is just a report submitted to the Congress, and not an official strategy of the U.S. administration. However, this document reflects the strategic rationale of the Bush administration after the September 11 attacks. This document will have a significant impact on the global strategic situation. It will also affect the U.S.' China strategy, including its Taiwan strategy.... The U.S. has always adopted a policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan. If war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, the U.S. has never stated clearly whether and in what way it would join the fighting. If the suggestions in the [NPR] are accepted by the U.S. administration, it means that the U.S. thinks that strategic ambiguity is not threatening enough and it must make clear the possibility of launching nuclear attacks to check any fighting in the Taiwan Strait."
"U.S. Nuclear Plan Is A Strategy Of Disaster"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News had this editorial (3/13): "The U.S. Los Angeles Times reported on March 9 that the U.S. military has drafted a contingency plan to launch nuclear attacks on at least seven countries on orders from the White House.... This incident shows that the strongest nuclear power...is the most irresponsible country on the issue of using nuclear weapons. The U.S. easily talks about things like launching nuclear attacks against other countries in the interest of its hegemonic strategy, putting the world under nuclear threat. Many countries will, of course, feel angry and uneasy about the report.... The most ridiculous thing is that China, because of its nuclear forces and developing strategic objectives, is listed as a country that could be involved in an immediate or potential contingency. What hegemonic logic this is!"
"Who Is Threatening Whom Today"
Shih Chun-yu declared in PRC-owned Ta Kung Pao (3/13): "The U.S. possesses the world's largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal, which is being constantly developed and updated.... Yet the U.S. is not only a producer and keeper of weapons of mass destruction, it is prepared to launch nuclear strikes against the seven countries. Therefore, it should be said that the U.S. has constituted a substantive nuclear threat to these countries and the world."
"Dealing With U.S. Hegemony"
The independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News remarked in an editorial (3/11): "It can be seen that the U.S. is still in a state of grief and indignation. Encountering such a heavy blow, the U.S. did not learn the lesson of treasuring peace more. On the contrary, it is making active preparations for war. It is ready to pay any price to eradicate its enemy. Recently, U.S. media revealed that the Defense Department is planning to use small-scale nuclear weapons to tackle seven countries, including China. In face of the hegemonic U.S., the best plan for China is to hide its capacities and bide its time, as well as to rouse itself for vigorous efforts to make the country prosperous."
NORTH KOREA: "U.S. Reckless Nuclear War Scenario"
Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) carried this commentary (3/13): "This indicates that the Bush administration is working in real earnest to prepare a dangerous nuclear war to bring nuclear disasters to our planet and humankind.... The U.S. nuclear war scenario is an inhuman plan to spark a global nuclear arms race and bring the political and military situation in the world including the Korean peninsula to an extreme pitch of tension.... U.S. administrations, taking into consideration the world public opinion, have stressed that the U.S. nuclear weapons are a war deterrent force while advocating their nuclear policy. In the current report the Bush administration made a policy switchover from its criminal plan to make a nuclear strike on any target of specific countries anytime according to its unilateral judgement to a 'realistic' policy, free from the past cumbersome diplomatic commitments to nuclear weapons. The DPRK will not remain a passive onlooker to the Bush administration's inclusion of the DPRK in the seven countries, targets of U.S. nuclear attack, but take a strong countermeasure against it. The present political and military situation where the U.S. is openly threatening the DPRK with nuclear weapons proves once again how just it was when it exerted tremendous efforts to increase its capacity for self-defence. If the U.S. intends to mount a nuclear attack on any part of the DPRK just as it did on Hiroshima, it is grossly mistaken. A nuclear war to be imposed by the U.S. nuclear fanatics upon the DPRK would mean their ruin in nuclear disaster."
PHILIPPINES: "Will Bush Nuke 'Em?"
Teddy Casino, head of the left-leaning militant group "Bayan" ("Bagong Alyansang Makabayan" or New Nationalist Alliance), wrote in his column in the independent Business World (3/15): "If you can't lick 'em, nuke 'em. This appears to be the thinking in official Washington nowadays.... The New York Times reported...that the Pentagon's Nuclear Policy Review had cited the need for new nuclear arms that could destroy underground complexes, including stores of chemical and biological arms. Among the targets were the 'axis of evil'--Iraq, Iran, North Korea, including Syria and Libya--all viewed as rouge nations by America and now suspected of harboring al-Qaeda cells and other terrorist networks.... The Pentagon report indicates an emerging thinking that says nuclear weapons should be used not simply to deter attacks but (also) as part of the arsenal...for use in regular combat. The review has bolstered fears that the U.S. government may be dragging the American public and the whole world into new and more dangerous dimensions of war..... Some say the Pentagon review is just part of the Bush administration's propaganda...to scare its enemies from launching any attack...but many are not convinced. With Bush's war rhetoric becoming more strident, reports of a 'shadow government' being put up and now nuclear weapons being designed for combat, many are starting to doubt whether America is really fighting terrorism or creating it in a scale never before imagined."
SINGAPORE: "Bad News From U.S."
The pro-government Straits Times opined (3/12): "To give credit where it is due, it is only the U.S. that has the wherewithal to make a definite global point today. Other countries must be grateful to it therefore, when it uses its power to protect the world from terrorism, which is a truly global threat.... However, gratitude must be balanced by concern when its power is transformed into a sense of self-entitlement, a mentality which implies that it has an indisputable right to be No 1 in the world forever. The notion that the U.S. can dictate international outcomes in its self-interest, without playing sufficient attention to the interests and views of other world players, raises the prospects of U.S. domination, if not hegemony, in international affairs. The truth is that international relations have entered a phase of coalition politics in which even the U.S. must not take other countries for granted. The possible occasions on which it could contemplate the use of nuclear weapons are undoubtedly serious, but putting out a nuclear hate-list of countries in advance is unlikely to make the world a safer place for everyone. Instead, those countries may take an interest in making the world less safe for America."
SOUTH KOREA: “Guarding Against U.S. Nuclear Axis”
Senior reporter Kim Young-hie wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (3/13): “The [NPR]...calls for a preemptive nuclear attack against countries accused of developing weapons of mass destruction and cites the need for precision small-scale nuclear arms to destroy underground complexes, including stores of chemical and biological arms. The list of seven potential target nations includes North Korea and Russia. This is quite scary and worrisome.... The ROKG should verify whether the U.S. has actually changed its nuclear strategy and if necessary, raise objections in a clear and assertive manner.... It is understandable for the Bush administration, which is waging a war on terror, to press North Korea, Iran and Iraq hard by defining them as an ‘axis of evil.’ However, U.S. indication of its intent to rule ‘axis of evil’ countries with its own ‘nuclear axis'...will backfire on U.S. efforts to resolve problems in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.”
“U.S. Nuclear Policy Worrisome”
Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (3/12): “The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review calls for the designation of seven countries, among them North Korea and Iraq, as potential targets for U.S. nuclear attacks and for the development of more sophisticated small-scale nuclear weapons. This represents a considerable departure from the U.S. policy of ‘negative security assurance,’ whereby the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, and raises the possibility of the U.S. using nuclear weapons in actual combat.... Since nuclear weapons can unleash an uncontrollable disaster upon the world, the U.S. should refrain from lowering its nuclear threshold. If the U.S. starts to develop new, small-scale nuclear weapons, it will further encourage the proliferation of such weapons.”
“Repercussions Of U.S. Nuclear Report”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (3/12): “The world is reeling from a Pentagon report...because the report signals a dangerous shift in U.S. strategic ideology in the wake of September 11.... In particular, North Korea’s inclusion in a list of potential target countries for U.S. nuclear attacks has resulted in mounting concern that a conventional military conflict on the Korean Peninsula might escalate into a nuclear war. The NPR showcases one-sided American thinking that its nuclear arsenal is good, while those of other countries are evil, and that the U.S. can spread fear about nuclear war around the world in order to protect its own national security.... But the strategic considerations of the NPR will not guarantee U.S. security and will only sour the relationship between the U.S. and its allies.”
“Concerns Over New U.S. Nuclear Policy”
Moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (3/12): “The NPR suggests that the U.S. develop smaller nuclear weapons...and expand the number of potential target nations in the event of a nuclear war.... However, the report, by opening up the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against countries that attack the U.S. or its allies, may greatly undermine the [NPT].... Humanity has avoided using nuclear weapons during the past 50 years, and undoubtedly, the nuclear strategy of the U.S. has played an important role toward this end. In this regard, a change in U.S strategy is highly dangerous. We hope Washington will recognize the perils of unilaterally changing nuclear policy and take a rational approach to this issue.”
“Highly Dangerous U.S. ‘Nuclear Posture’”
Pro-government Hankyoreh editorialized (3/12): “Is the U.S. trying to drive the 21st century into a nuclear war? We cannot help but feel surprised and angered by the [NPR].... The rationale behind this change, according to the NPR, is the new global security situation after September 11. At a time when all countries except Russia and China still do not possess nuclear weapons and are parties to the [NPT], we cannot help but wonder who truly is proliferating nuclear weapons and thereby threatening world peace… The U.S. must withdraw its dangerous NPR, which could thrust the world into a nuclear arms race.”
“Dangerous U.S. Nuclear Plan”
Conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (3/12): “The U.S. has persuaded countries such as North Korea and Iraq to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with the pledge that the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons against them. That the U.S. has included these non-nuclear states as potential targets in the event of preemptive nuclear attacks is a clear breach of that earlier promise.”
VIETNAM: "From Threats To Actions?"
Hong Ky wrote in Vietnam People's Army daily Quan Doi Nhan Dan (3/14): "There has been a fundamental change in the nuclear policy of the U.S. From being an instrument of strategic threat, nuclear weapons have become part of a plan in which the U.S. is ready to use the weapons for various cases.... The world is facing a possible nuclear attack initiated by the U.S.... That the U.S.' plan to use nuclear weapons on its own initiative was disclosed right after the U.S. government considered Iraq, Iran and the DPRK as elements of an 'axis of evil' make many worry that the U.S. may unilaterally launch nuclear attacks on a number of countries when it thinks its strategic interests are at threatened, or worse, it can use nuclear weapons for other reasons.... Many disarmament experts say that the new US nuclear policy will in fact annul the 1970 [NPT]. The conscience of humankind does not allows tragedies like the ones in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to happen again. Vietnamese people and peace-loving people in the world demand that the disarmament process must be carried out fully and comprehensively, beginning with nuclear weapons. All calculations to use nuclear weapons as an instrument to threat or to attack other nations must be uncovered, strongly condemned and prevented."
INDIA: "Naked Nukes!"
The Kashmiri Daily commented (3/13): "The taboo on the nuclear weapons is off. Though the U.S. has spoken of the use being limited to three cases, those are no more than the priorities that usually determine the order of deployment of different weaponry during battle. Like the choice of antibiotics against infection, it is always a graded approach. You normally do not use more force than is needed; if a battalion can do the trick, there is no need to mobilize the brigade. But the brigade is always ready to take off, should the earlier contingents fail. Now nukes would be ready for launch."
PAKISTAN: "Nuke 'Em!"
According to the Peshawar-based independent Frontier Post (3/11): Aggressive militarism, including a Dr. Strangelove kind of dementia, characterizes the U.S. posture in modern times. Given the impermissibility by any canons of war, peace, morality or humanity of the use of nuclear weapons, it is alarming in the extreme that the arrogance of Washington since the comparatively easy victory over the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan has so emboldened the hawks in the American establishment that they have thrown all restraint and caution to the winds and are talking about this kind of insanity. The world is a much more dangerous place as a result of the U.S. ascending to the position of sole superpower."
"U.S. Contingency Plan: The World Stands On Verge Of Great Destruction"
An editorial in sensationalist, Urdu Khabrain contended (3/11): "The American leadership must review its policies and soften its attitude. No matter how big a superpower the U.S. is, it cannot take on the whole world."
"Nothing Is Unexpected From The U.S."
An editorial in Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity, Urdu Jasarat claimed (3/11): As far as the Muslim countries are concerned, there is no doubt that the U.S. could use atomic bombs against them. The illegitimate existence of Israel is necessary for the U.S. and the Western world. Therefore, if the Arab-Israel conflict accelerates, then there is all likelihood that the U.S. will use the nuclear option in the Middle East."
EGYPT: "Rather Astonishing That Arab States On Target List"
Contributor and former ambassador Ahmad El Molla wrote in leading pro-government Al Ahram (3/14): "It is rather astonishing that among those targeted countries there are three Arab countries and one Islamic country and all are peaceful countries and do not produce nuclear weapons. So on what basis did the U.S. put them on the list of the targeted countries to be attacked by nuclear weapons. The clear answer is that in America’s point of view these countries could be a source of threat in the future to Israel."
MOROCCO: "Bush's Bombs"
Government-coaltion, French-language Liberation observed (3/13): "The world is really worried after the revelations made by the U.S. media regarding the new U.S. nuclear strategy.... For the first time in history we have learned about possible U.S. nuclear attacks against countries. This may push the countries that have no nuclear weapons to start thinking about making or acquiring them."
ARGENTINA: "The 'Nuke Bomb' Option: Homage To Victims Of Terrorism"
Carlos Escude, international analyst and academic, wrote in business Buenos Aires Economico (3/12): "These are times for 'Churchill', not 'Chamberlain.'... The U.S. president's decision to extend the possible use of an atomic bomb to non-nuclear powers that export terrorism is a correct first step against countries harboring terrorists.... What Islamic terrorists invented--suicide attacks--is the equivalent to an atomic bomb and can only be defeated with an atomic bomb.... These are times for a 'Churchill' and for a small Hiroshima--a 2 kiloton bomb in Gaza--without which history will lead us to a bigger holocaust in the future, a holocaust that will make Japan's tragedy appear very much smaller in comparison."
CANADA: "Why Playing With Nuclear Strategy Is Really Dumb"
Washington correspondent Paul Knox commented in the leading Globe and Mail (3/13): "Nuclear weapons aren't pretty, but the danger they entailed was considerably defused through arms control treaties.... The United States has already abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Regardless of how far the Pentagon's new thinking is developed, we have entered a new period of nuclear uncertainty. Military planners around the globe will be scrambling to assimilate the NPR's implications. A lot has changed since 1945, when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but one truism remains intact: Nuclear weapons that exist are more likely to be used than nuclear weapons that don't exist. We were fortunate to get out of the Cold War alive. How far will they push our luck this time?"
The conservative National Post opined (3/13): "The primary responsibility of a nuclear superpower entrusted with policing the world is to ensure that troublemakers do not question its willingness to destroy them if push comes to shove. Retaining this credibility is the animating spirit behind the Pentagon's new [NPR].... While the nuclear arsenals and strategies of the Soviet Union and the United States reflected the structure of the Cold War...today's nuclear doctrine must mirror the underlying reality of the post-Sept. 11 environment. Force structure must be re-tooled to allow the Pentagon to respond flexibly, rapidly and credibly to threats of a different order and magnitude from those once presented by the Soviet Union. Indeed, the entire mentality of fighting a nuclear war has altered in the past decade. Nuclear theory was previously built on the assumption that a potential attacker must know that a first strike would be followed by overwhelming retaliation in order to preserve credibility.... It makes perfect sense that, as outlined in the [NPR], pinpoint theatre nuclear missiles designed for 'full spectrum' response in a variety of situations should be developed to supplement the intercontinental behemoths currently in use. It also makes sense that U.S. responses to certain warlike acts--such as a North Korean attack on South Korea or an Iraqi launch of chemical warheads against Israel--should be spelled out clearly to divest troublemakers ahead of time of the excuse of ambiguity. This [NPR], therefore, is a welcome revelation. As its revolutionary conventional performance in the Afghan war has also demonstrated, the Pentagon is well ahead of its critics, many of whom are still fighting the Cold War's rhetorical battles."
“Rethink The Unthinkable”
Under the subheading, “The idea of waging nuclear war is taking flight in Washington. Canada must protest,” former chair of the UN Disarmament Committee Douglas Roche said in the leading Globe and Mail (3/12): "Nuclear weapons are back on the front pages, with news of a Bush administration policy document...which projects the role of nuclear weapons into the future--not as deterrents, but for the purpose of waging wars.... The document also breaks a commitment. In 2000, the United States joined the other nuclear-weapons states in making an ‘unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination’ of their nuclear arsenals.... The Bush administration has offered cuts in the nuclear weapons the United States deploys, but is reinforcing its maintenance of core stocks and planning the development of new ones. By rejecting the [CTBT], it is holding open the door to resumed nuclear testing. This has greatly worried many non-nuclear weapons countries and has already led to charges that the United States is acting in bad faith.... The shift in U.S. policy has immense implications for Canada and the other members of NATO. NATO has traditionally presented its nuclear doctrine as one of deterrence, not war.... Because of its military strength and commanding position as the world's lone superpower, the United States occupies the central position when it comes to making progress on nuclear disarmament."
CHILE: "A Very Dangerous Report"
In its prime-time newscast, privately owned Chilevisi=n (3/11) included a segment with international commentator Libardo Buitrago, who stated: "The U.S. has increased its Defense budget and one wonders, if the U.S. is the mega superpower of the world, who is the enemy? And a very dangerous Pentagon report characterizes the enemy as Russia, China and the countries of the axis of evil. But it is mistaken, because those countries did not attack the U.S. Osama Bin Laden attacked the U.S. and he did not attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.... The White House is at war but it is mistaking both the objective, and the results."
NICARAGUA: "A More Dangerous World"
Right, pro-liberal party La Trinchera published this editorial from Spanish daily El Pais (3/13): "If the U.S. lowers its threshold on the use of nuclear weapons it will only lead to the proliferation of them.... The most powerful country in the world should lead by example and announce a reduction of its nuclear weapons.... Bush's unilateral sentiments have surfaced with the attacks on 9/11, he has lost the opportunity to make the world more balanced.... He needs to understand that the dream of total security is unattainable."